February 2016

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Kidney Disease and Children. Better Knowledge, Better Care

World Kidney Day is an annual global campaign to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys and to shine a light on prevention and early detection of kidney disease, which affects an estimated 1.7 million Australians - 90% of whom don't know they have it.

While the mortality associated with many chronic diseases including some cancers is stable and even declining, two Australians every hour continue to die with kidney related disease.

Many children may be at risk at an early age. It is therefore crucial that we encourage and facilitate education, early detection and a healthy lifestyle in children to combat the increase of preventable kidney damage.

On Thursday 10 March, join the international community in creating awareness about how to improve kidney health and how to reduce risk factors for preventable kidney disease. Visit the campaign website to find out more.

Personal and consumer stories
Why my husband wanted to die at home

When Tony was told he only had weeks left, his first wish was to spend them in his own home. His widow Kristen recounts their story. 
Maintaining Hope and Positivity Through Life’s “Ripples”

“Ripples” are events that change your life for a period of time until life goes back to “normal” or the “new normal.” 
Dominica talks about her major life “ripple” when diagnosed with cervical lymphoma eight years ago. 
Hope makes us strong

Cathy became a caregiver for her husband after he was diagnosed with bulbar onset Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in January of 2015. Cathy shares how she's learnt to manage the dual roles of wife and caregiver.
The cost to pretend to be normal

Before Karina's onset of Ehlers-Danlos symptoms, she had always been very active. Now she struggles doing the simplest of things without knocking herself out. Karina describes the sheer energy it takes to pretend to be fine when she's not.
News and current affairs

Health in 2016: a cheat sheet on hospitals, Medicare and private health insurance reform

This article by Stephen Duckett in The Conversation provides a synopsis for the Australia's health system in 2016. The scene has been set for change, but will the health minister act?

We start 2016 as we started 2015 – with big challenges for the health system and uncertainty as to how governments will meet them.

The health care headaches in 2016 are, in fact, the same ones we faced a decade ago, albeit different in severity and symptoms. They include population growth, ageing and the rise of chronic disease; inequality in access to care and health outcomes; technological change (the good, the bad and the expensive) and the seemingly inexorable rise in health costs.

Circling for landing are three major reviews on private health insurance, primary care, and low-value care. Their recommendations, and the government’s response to them, are very much up in the air.

Adding to the uncertainty is the broader review of federalism and its consequences for public hospital funding, along with speculation around the 2016 federal election date and what each party’s Santa sack of election promises might contain.

Read more

Sydney pilot to begin amid growing calls to place pharmacists with GPs

There has been much discussion about bringing pharmacists into high functioning primary care teams, but progress has been difficult, says Walter Kmet, CEO of WentWest, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network.

However, he says there is now renewed interest from a range of groups and WentWest is launching a three month pilot program placing non-dispensing pharmacists in general practice. The program is being run in partnership with local GP Associations of the Hills, Blacktown and Mount Druitt regions and is specifically focused on reducing overprescribing, medication misuse, adverse drugs events and preventable hospital admissions.

In its 2016-17 Federal Budget submission, the Australian Medical Association calls on the Government to support the employment of non-dispensing pharmacists in general practice through a funding model similar to incentive payments provided for nurses working in general practice. It said the proposal is backed by an independent analysis from Deloitte Access Economics, which shows a benefit-cost ratio of 1.56 for the health system.

With over 26,000 pharmacists in Australia, well ahead the next allied health professional category, it is hard to imagine an effective health system without a strong and capable pharmacy sector.

Read full Croakey article

The world regards Australia's healthcare system as one of the best. It's time we realised why

In this article for The Guardian, Ranjana Srivastava provides a more balanced view of our healthcare system. Whilst it may not be perfect, lambasting the entire public hospital system is an ill-conceived way of inspiring change. At best, it disillusions patients, at worst, it compromises their care. Read article

NHS England announces major trials to improve patient care

Older patients and people with long term conditions and mental health problems will be among the first to benefit from a major new drive to modernise how the NHS delivers care. NHS Innovation ‘Test Beds’ involving collaborations between the NHS and innovators – including Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), IBM and Philips – aim to harness technology to address some of the most complex issues facing patients and the health service.

Don’t put a tag on us: disability is not a side issue

Improving the health and well-being of people with disabilities is fraught with challenges. W Aubrey Webson, Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador to the United Nations, tells WHO about the progress made over the last two decades.
Have your say

There is an important research study being conducted by a team of investigators led by Dr Lindy King at Flinders University. This study is focused on how members of the community would respond to and/or get help for patients who are becoming sicker in hospital settings.
The team are looking for members of the community to take part in an online survey who are:
  • Aged 16 years and over
  • Have been a patient or visited a patient in an Australian hospital in the past 5 years
This is a short survey, entirely anonymous and takes about 15 minutes to complete.


Pathology Awareness Australia is currently running a consumer survey to gauge experience and knowledge of pathology testing and information. It will take only minutes to complete and submissions are anonymous. Complete the survey.

Resources and events

Seminar: Thinking differently about patient-centred care

This breakfast seminar will bring together health sector leaders and consumers to discuss how to think differently about patient-centred care, drawing on real examples. An interactive panel will discuss how to bring about change from patient, service and system perspectives. 

When: Wednesday 9 March 2016, 8.00am – 9.45am (Breakfast will be available from 7.30am)
Where: Aerial UTS Function Centre, Level 7, 235 Jones Street, UTS Building 10, Ultimo.
Cost: FREE
RSVP: by Wednesday 24 February 2016.

Places are limited. Register now!
Western Sydney Community Forum

The Western Sydney Local Health District invites you to a Consumer Forum outlining the diabetes epidemic in Western Sydney and the influence that the local environment can have on the health of residents. There will be discussions about current facilities, plans and programs aimed at improving the environment in which the community may wish to become involved.

The audience discussion will provide great insight into health challenges and potential solutions within western Sydney.

This forum is relevant for both health professionals and consumers, providing attendees with greater understanding and vision for making western Sydney a healthier place in which to live, work and play.

When: Monday 21 March 2016, 6.00pm - 8.00pm (registration and refreshments commence at 5.00pm)
Where: Bowman Hall, Council Chambers, Campbell Street, Blacktown
REGISTER NOW or RSVP to / 02 8670 0015.

Patient Centred Medical Home Symposium

In NSW the drive for improved integration is producing a number of innovative approaches led by LHDs and PHNs that are attempting to achieve local system improvements that are similar to those adopted by Patient Centred Medical Homes (PCMH) in the US.

This free symposium provides an opportunity to hear from two distinguished speakers from the United States, Professor Kevin Grumbach and Associate Professor Jennifer DeVoe. What will the implications and opportunities be in NSW for a move towards the PCMH?

View the full program

Symposium details
When: Thursday 17 March 2016, 10.00am – 3.00pm
Where: Seminar Room 3 & 4, MGSM CBD Campus
Level 7, 37 Pitt Street, Sydney, 2000 
RSVP: Please register by Monday 7 March


If you have any questions, please contact Donna Davenport ( for further information.

Best of 2015

From Addiction to Urology, enjoy reading a selection of the top five downloaded articles in each of the 38 specialties from Wiley’s prominent medical journals collection

FREE for a limited time only.

Register now for upcoming HCNSW training courses

The next round of Consumer Representative training will be held in our Sydney offices on Thursday 21 and 28 April 2016.

This fully catered, two-day program introduces the concepts and practises of consumer engagement in the NSW health system and is facilitated by two experienced leaders in the field.

Visit our website for more information about our training programs or register now.
Graduate Certificate in Consumer Engagement. Enrol now!

HCNSW has once again partnered with the Health Issues Centre in VIC to bring their Graduate Certificate in Consumer and Community Engagement course to Sydney.

This accredited program will be run over four (4) days on April 28-29 (Thursday-Friday) and May 12-13 (Thursday-Friday), 2016.

This four-day course is for staff working in health services and other health-related organisations. It is designed for quality managers, clinical team leaders, consumer engagement coordinators and staff, government officers and others seeking training and national accreditation. 

Experienced consumer representatives are also welcome to attend the course.

Please visit the training section of our website for full course information.
Vital Signs 2015: The State of Safety and Quality in Australian Health Care

Vital Signs 2015 is structured around three important questions that members of the public may ask about their health care. Will my care be safe? Will I get the right care? Will I be a partner in my care?
This resource comes from The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and is very easy to read. It includes interesting graphs and data analysis on rates of advance care planning, drug resistant hospital infections, consumer experiences and many other areas in quality and safety state by state and nationally.
New health direct Australia app
Download the health direct Australia app and have health info and services at your fingertips! All information in the healthdirect app is sourced from Australia’s leading health organisations and has undergone a quality assurance process so people can be assured it is safe, appropriate and relevant for Australians.
Transforming end of life care in acute hospitals: the route to success ‘how to’ guide

NHS England’s first strategy for end-of-life care in England, published in 2008, has succeeded in reversing the trend of increasing the proportion of deaths taking place in hospital. Published December 2015, this 'how-to' guide  for frontline clinicians and leaders marks another significant milestone to improve the quality and experience of care at end-of-life for patients and their families.
I want paper

Would you prefer to receive The Wrap as a printed hard-copy via post? Or do you know someone who would like to read it but doesn't have email?

If so, please write to us - or HCNSW, Suite 3 / Level 8, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000 - and we will send you a printed version of The Wrap going forward. 
Did you know you can book us for training that meets your needs?

Health Consumers NSW runs individualised training courses for health services interested in supporting their consumer representatives to be the best they can be. The training is also useful for staff to understand how to engage the community and consumer representatives and fulfill Standard 2 obligations. 

There are two-day comprehensive programs or one-day short courses available, both of which can be tailored for your organisation depending on your needs. 

Contact us on 02 9986 1082 or to make a booking or enquiry.
Research and academics
Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians Report released

An Australian study – the first of its kind – about the wellbeing of older people has discovered that there are large concentrations of over 65s experiencing low wellbeing on the fringes of major cities compared to inner-city areas.

Launched in February 2016, The Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians (IWOA)* maps how older people are faring nationally across five domains, including education, health, resources and wealth, including housing. The stand-out finding was that housing affordability is the single most important factor in determining older people’s wellbeing.

Read more

Download the report
A snaphot from our twittersphere...
16 Feb - Health Consumers NSW @HCNSW
National standards are important as long as they aren't just tick-a-box @LynneMaher1 #ACICoDesign

Retweets by Health Consumers NSW
Our #NSQHSStandards Guide for Dental Practices and Services can assist in improving safety and quality of care 

16 Feb - Health Consumers NSW @HCNSW
ACI CoDesign Wshop LMaher' It may seem like a luxury but ' we haven't got time not to listen & observe' #ACICoDesign @nswaci @LynneMaher1
Become a HCNSW member - it's free to join!
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